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March 12, 2009 8:21 PM

Stanford Takes Fifth, Still Has No Lawyer

Posted by Zach Lowe

Tomorrow, we will wake up to a world in which Bernard Madoff has pleaded guilty and accepted what will likely amount to a life sentence in prison. But we will not struggle to find alleged white-collar criminals accused of brazen fraud to obsess over. 

First up is R. Allen Stanford, the founder and head of the Stanford Financial Group, who stands accused of an $8 billion fraud centered on certificates of deposit his bank issued. The big news, for Am Law Daily readers, is that Stanford and his top lieutenant, James Davis, still haven't hired lawyers--nearly a month after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit against them--and it's beginning to look like they might never do so. 

Charles Meadows, a name partner at Meadows, Collier, Reed, Cousins & Blau who represented Stanford at a brief hearing last week, says he is no longer representing Stanford. Paul Coggins of Fish & Richardson, who told us last week he's in talks to represent Davis, has not registered an appearance for Davis since then. 

Also, Stanford, like Davis last month, invoked the Fifth Amendment in a meeting with SEC investigators this week and has said he does not plan to cooperate with the government's investigation, according to the Associated Press

In nonlawyer related news (kind of), the federal judge hearing the case today released assets that Stanford managed as a broker, bowing to hundreds of investors who said their money was unconnected to the CDs, according to the Houston Chronicle. This presumably includes the accounts of baseball stars Johnny Damon and Robb Nen

Finally, the third Stanford exec charged so far--and the only one charged criminally--won a partial victory today when a federal judge granted her request to have investigators return personal items they seized from her home last week. As we told you Tuesday, lawyers for former Stanford investment officer Laura Pendergest-Holt had objected to the searches, particularly to the conduct of two lawyers working for the receiver in the case. Pendergest-Holt's legal team (Parsons Behle & Latimer in Salt Lake City and Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox in Dallas) accused the lawyers--including one Thompson & Knight partner--of taunting Pendergest-Holt's husband and rifling through her underwear drawer.

There's lots for us to follow. Stay tuned.

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